Hello Rotarians, Rotaractors and friends…..
We have now completed 2 months of the current Rotary year and our District is buzzing with activity in so many areas. Our continued response to the Covid Pandemic shows the resilience, innovation and energy of the clubs and clusters as we continue to reach out to our local communities as well as around the world. I will highlight just a few of the initiatives fostered by our clubs.
On August 4, the explosion in Beirut, Lebanon shocked the world and left at least 200 people dead, injured more than 5,000 and left an estimated 300,000 homeless. The damage to their infrastructure and necessary services was immense. A mid-month newsletter went out to all members in the District detailing the rapid response from clubs and clusters in our District. Donations of cash and materials continue, and a second shipment of materials is being readied.
Rotarian leaders in these efforts include PDG Lesley, DGE Rudy, Woodstock Oxford Rotarians, Peter Stam and PDG Doug Vincent. To learn more or to donate go to Rotary Helps Lebanon website or Facebook Group.
Coping with Covid-19
We are now six months into the pandemic and remain uncertain as to how this virus will behave in the intermediate and long term. The worldwide and local numbers show ongoing cases and fatalities. The advisories from reputable sources such as the CDC, Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada and others indicate that the necessity for continued precautions and practices will be with us for quite some time. Some clubs are now following Phase Three precautions and meeting in person, with social distancing, face masks, good hand hygiene and following public health recommendations. I have attended one in person Rotary meeting in Woodstock this month; we enjoyed the  outdoors and obeyed the current directives for social distancing.
I have visited 12 Rotary clubs and 2 Rotaract clubs this year and have enjoyed the resourcefulness and unique environment at each virtual visit. There are of course some hidden benefits of virtual meetings in that many folks who are located far away and those who are not able to leave their homes or places of business are now able to be part of a Rotary meeting. I have heard that some clubs are preparing to have hybrid meetings with many members gathering in- person while another subset join in via Zoom. Last week, I attended three Rotary meetings: one that included RI Vice President, Johrita Solari, one that featured RI President Nominee 22-23, Jennifer Jones, and a third meeting with RI Director, Valarie Wafer. Jennifer and Valarie are proud Canadians.
Polio Plus Still a High Priority
Just this week, the African Region was officially certified as being wild Polio free - that means no new cases in 3 years. However, we mustn’t let up as there remain 2 active areas with more cases this year than last: those countries are Pakistan and Afghanistan. At this time last year there were 84 new cases, this year the number is 102. 
  • The Polio Plus Challenge recognizes clubs that donate at least $1500 to the PP Fund in the last Rotary year. I am pleased to announce the 22 clubs in our District met this threshold. The top 3 clubs were Guelph Trillium, Kitchener Grand River and Burlington Lakeshore.
  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has again pledged a 2:1 match if Rotary International can raise at $50 million USD.
  • Thanks to Jennifer Ngo (Mississauga West) for becoming District Polio Plus Chair.
  • Remember World Polio Day - October 24
  • September is Basic Education and Literacy Month
  • Dr. Bowtie Jenkins, a dedicated young Rotarian and speaker, will present an on-line talk on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on October 15th.  Look for a registration link in next month's bulletin.  
  • RI Virtual Convention continues with online presentations and podcasts.  Click here for more information.
  • The Emergency Department of New Grooves Hospital was named Rotary Club of Fergus Elora in perpetuity. To date, the Rotary Club of Fergus Elora has donated $500,000 to Groves Hospital Foundation.
  • Rotaract Oakville has expanded and changed their name to Rotaract Halton.  Thanks to Desmond Jordan and Nagwa Abou El-Naga for their leadership.
  • Worth reading: “Together” by Vivek H. Murthy, MD and 19th US Surgeon General. It speaks to the healing power of human connection in a sometimes lonely world.  Did you know that isolation and loneliness have a higher fatality rate than heart disease and diabetes!
  • George Raymond (Ray) Gibson- RC Bramalea, passed away on Aug 14, 2020. He was District Governor of District 709 in 72-73. A private family service has been held.